The cost of life insurance relies on a number of factors, but none carry a greater weight than, well – your weight. Because underwriters see overweight or obese applicants as high-risk, many will deny requests for coverage or simply charge life insurance rates that are extremely high. Read on to learn more about why your weight matters.

Extra Pounds = Higher Rates

Most insurance companies will judge how much body fat you’re carrying by calculating your body mass index (BMI).

  • By using your height and your weight in this calculation, they can determine whether applicants are overweight or obese.
  • A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • A BMI over 30 is considered obese.

If an applicant’s BMI is very low (under 18.5), at the point of being underweight or malnourished, their life insurance rates can increase substantially, as well.

Not only will you have to spend more on life insurance, but being overweight or obese puts you at risk for conditions like coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol and much more.

Use the following tips to achieve a well-balanced diet and a healthy body.

  • Avoid high-fat foods that contain large amounts of calories.
  • Monitor your caloric intake. Your ideal daily calorie needs will depend greatly on your age, gender and activity level.
  • Visit to learn more about healthy eating habits that will keep you trim and well.

Healthy hints

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 35% of American adults are classified as obese, making them “high-risk” applicants to life insurance providers. Find the lower life insurance rates you desire by maintaining a healthy weight.

If you are considered overweight or obese according to the CDC guidelines, your life insurance rates may be higher than if you met their criteria for a healthy weight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t purchase life insurance. It just means it’s more important to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best rates for your build and health profile.

Should you lose weight before you apply for life insurance?

If you need life insurance, the best course of action is to apply and get the coverage you need as soon as possible. Waiting until you lose weight is rarely a good option because it leaves your family unprotected.

Losing weight right before or after you apply isn’t likely to lower your rates either. An underwriter will rarely give you “full credit” for weight loss within the last 12 months. That means if you weigh 240 lbs at the time of your medical exam but you weighed 280 lbs a few months ago, they are not going to use 240 in your height to weight chart. What they will use is dependent on the company. Some companies might do something called a “half credit,” which would calculate your weight for the table as your current weight plus half of the weight you lost recently. In this example, that means your weight for the table would be 260.

Reapplication or reconsideration after losing weight

If you’ve lost weight but still have higher rates than you’d like, or if you lose weight in the future, you may be able to lower your life insurance rates even after you have a policy. Simply reapply once you’ve maintained a lower weight for a year or more. Your rates could come back lower, especially if the insurer offers better rates to people who have lost weight. A second option is to petition your life insurance company to let you retake your medical exam one or two years after the policy goes into effect. This is called reconsideration, and it could lower your premiums if your health has improved.

We are here to help

Just because you are overweight, does not mean that you cannot get life insurance. That’s what we are here for. We can work with various carriers to help you get the coverage that you need. And, if you do lose weight, we will work with you on getting an updated medical exam and premiums.

Don’t let your weight deter you from protecting your family and everything that is important to you. Contact us today.